WASHINGTON DC —
Cambodia’s electoral system may be in need of an overhaul, a leading rights advocate says.
Ou Virak, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, told “Hello VOA” Monday that Cambodians should consider direct elections, rather than a weighted system that currently gives an advantage to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.
“When a party has to prepare a candidate list for each province, then it also has a right to replace them when it is not happy with the candidates,” Ou Virak said. “Once they are removed from the party, they lose their parliamentary seat right away.”
The proportional system enables multiparty representations in the parliament, including smaller political outlets, he said.
The direct election system, supported by some political observers, enables independent candidates to run for office, but it could sideline smaller parties that don’t have many resources, he said.
“The direct election system receives some criticism too because it provides a chance for better-off candidates to win an election,” he said.
In the nine constituencies that have just one seat for the Assembly, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party won them all.
In the long run, Ou Virak said, people will tire of seeing the same party continuously win elections.
Chheang Von, chairman of the Assembly’s foreign committee, agreed that the current system is not perfect. A mixed system of proportional and direct voting is “good option for consideration,” he said.